23 Foods That Are Good For Your Skin

woman's face one side clear skin other side with freckles

Sometimes my patients ask me what foods are good for their skin, to keep it firm and younger looking. I tell them whatever you eat that’s good for you is good for your skin! Your skin is a reflection of your overall health. If you’re healthy inside, you’re healthy outside.

You can’t stop yourself from aging. But here are some foods I recommend that can help firm and protect your skin.

Eat fish for firmer skin

Omega-3 fatty acids do a lot of good things, including lower your triglycerides and battle inflammation. But they also help preserve collagen in your skin and keep it firmer. The top source of omega-3s is fish, and these are the best:

•    Salmon
•    Tuna (bluefin and albacore)
•    Lake trout
•    Sardines and anchovies
•    Mackerel
•    Atlantic sturgeon

Try plant-based sources of skin-firming omega-3s

Though most plant-based foods — veggies, nuts and oils — don’t provide as much omega-3 as fish, they’re still a solid source.

Flaxseed oil is particularly rich in the collagen-boosting fatty acid. Don’t cook with flaxseed oil; mix it into smoothies or yogurt, or use it as a salad dressing.

Chia seeds are another great source that you can sprinkle onto yogurt, cereal and salad, and into batter for muffins and pancakes.

Other plant-sourced omega-3 foods that can benefit your skin:

•    Walnuts and walnut oil
•    Soy foods and soybean oil
•    Canola oil
•    Spinach
•    Mustard greens
•    Wheat germ

Eat fruits and veggies — plus chocolate

Fruit, vegetables and dark chocolate supply antioxidants and vitamins that help protect your skin from free radicals and sun damage, which keeps the skin looking younger and more radiant.

I’ll start with tomatoes (yes, technically a fruit — but used as a vegetable in cooking). Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant which can help keep your skin smoother. And you know tomatoes are easy to work into anything: salads, side dishes, sandwiches.

Other fruits and vegetables not only contain antioxidants but healthy amounts of vitamins C and E, which can fight wrinkles. These are among some of the best choices for better skin:

•    Strawberries
•    Citrus – oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes
•    Cantaloupe
•    Apricots
•    Broccoli
•    Sweet potatoes
•    Spinach

As far as chocolate goes — and a lot of us would follow it anywhere — dark chocolate contains flavonals that can reduce rough texture in the skin and protect against sun damage. Have a few ounces a day, but make sure it’s made up of 60- to 70-percent cocoa.

Watch serving sizes and sugar

A lot of the things that help your skin are healthy for you to eat. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, but still watch your serving sizes; fruit has a good amount of sugar. And cut down on the unhealthy junk. You’ll feel better and look better — and your skin will reflect it all.

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Laura Jeffers, MEd, RD, LD

Laura Jeffers, MEd, RD, LD, is a registered dietitian and Outpatient Nutrition Manager in the Center for Human Nutrition.
  • Heather Gray

    I know I am in the minority with this but I had my gallbladder removed 4 years ago and have had pain after eating anything since the day of the surgery. I have been thoroughly checked by my GP and specialist and they have found no reason for my discomfort. I had to have it removed, no question, but I wish I had known this was going to happen. I live on Greek yogurt and soup. On a good note I went from a size 18 to a 10, but I feel awful. Anyone else experience anything close to this?

    • MLe Howland

      Heather I too am having this very problem because of my gallbladder, removal, 2009. Weight loss, vomiting, hurts when i have a bowel movement or eat anything, nausea. I no longer can eat red meat, only turkey or chicken breast meat and like you..in a soup it seems to digest better. I have been the rounds with my doctor who is getting me to think its all in my head. My surgery was a have to also. I was really very ill, before, during and now after all these years. So if you find an answer, please let me know as well.

    • Denra Proffitt

      Nutritional supplements such as bile salts can help and also digestive enzymes also can be bought in health food stores

  • Dave Wallack

    I’ve been a vegan for years and fruitarian for 6 months now. Fruitarianism is not a short term weight loss diet, it is a long term way of life. It is not something I will ever stop. Since my body has been free of eating grasses, sugar, sodium, animal flesh, and mother cow’s milk, I have realized how much these addictions held back my body and mind. The best part is that instead of trying to stop eating, my focused has turned to making sure I get enough calories — my focus is now on making sure I eat enough. That’s more fun that trying to avoid food. My health has never been better, my dentist thinks I am a model patient, and I run at least 4 miles every morning. I haven’t been even the slightest bit sick in 5 months. There are easy vegan ways to get B12 and other essential nutrients. Do it for a month and judge for yourself.

    • SloopJB

      LCHF eating is definitely more fun than being a fruitarian, no need to focus on calories. Also a way of life, we also avoid sugar and grains, but not meat or dairy. Guess we all need to find our own ideal diet, LCHF seems to be the way for caucasians from northern europe. Asians have different needs, they can live on rice which is a big no-no for LCHF.

      • Rother Vandross

        I don’t know, the original poster looks like a Caucasian from Northern Europe and he says the fruit diet works for him, so maybe you’re just scared, which is normal.